When the time came to look for a new lid, I went back and forth on whether to stick with what I have, or try something new. There’s always that comforting feeling with sticking to what you know—and certainly nothing wrong with it. But I was up for a change…
The Important stuff
As many of you know, I’m real big on safety when it comes to motorcycles. Helmets are considered the single most important piece of gear that you can possibly wear, and it’s something that I’ve never skimped on. So how do I gauge a helmet’s quality? Well, I check against three well known safety standards around the world—DOT, Snell and ECE R22-05.
Read more on helmet safety standards
In short, DOT is the US standard and most common standard—it aims to protect your head from 90% of impact types. Anything without this minim safety rating is classified as a “novelty” and in some states could result in a fine. Snell is a not-for-profit, independent organization that tests more of a shock-absorbent helmet standard. And ECE R22-05—is often compared to DOT in many ways but also offers it’s own form of tests that differ from the other two. All these ratings are supported by various racing organizations including AMA, WERA, FIM, and even MotoGP.
The Ls2 FT2
Also known as FF396—is both DOT and ECE R22-05 approved. An important note, because not all of LS2’s helmets are ECE approved. According to SHARP (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme), the LS2 FT2 received a rating of 4/5—a pleasantly reassuring find considering the affordable price point of $220USD (with no discount or sale). LS2 helmets are also warranted to be free of defects in materials or workmanship for 5 years. That goes a long way in my book.
I compared it against my current Shoei RF-1100 (European equivalent XR-1100) which received a 5/5 and then against the Shoei GT Air (Another model was considering purchasing) that came in at a surprising 3/5. I’m happy to see that the FT2 stacks up above average against some other industry leading companies that’s I’ve trusted for years.
In the end, rating and certification standards can be a highly disputed and argued subject, and some will have experiences with one manufacturer that may have been horrible compared to another manufacturer—regardless of ratings.
It’s up to you to do the research and make your own decision on what you feel confident and safe in.
The fun stuff
In addition to meeting an above average safety rating, I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality and craftsmanship of this helmet. I find the Fierce Red design (one shown here) to be very modern and sleek. The inside padding is top notch and lined with a moisture wicking liner that is fully removable and washable. The cheek pads themselves are very expertly cut to mold around your face for a firm and snug fit. On top of that there is a built in pump system that allows you to inflate the pads for a super tight fit when you really want to have some fun 😉
The shell itself is made of fiberglass and is actually a tad lighter than my Shoei. The overall shape is oval and fits like my Shoei for comparison. The FT2 also comes in 2 different shell sizes, which is really nice considering I wear an XS, that way I don’t look like a complete bobble head. Some manufacturers only make one size shell and then fill it with more foam—which I’m not a fan of because you essentially get a heavier and bulkier helmet.
I appreciate any company that takes the time to create separate shell sizes.
The visor is pretty simple to operate and swap out, especially if you are familiar with Scorpion helmets. Nothing like fumbling with a visor in the morning when you’re already late for work! It’s got a pin lock and the clear visor is fog and scratch resistant. However one of the coolest features on this helmet is the secondary sun visor! This is super awesome for traveling especially if you ride day to night. If you’re like me and hate wearing sunglasses under your helmet but need a clear visor for night time, then you’ll really appreciate this feature.
I now feel comfortable in all weather conditions, where before it was a struggle to see in rain or dusk with my tinted visor. I’ll admit, I originally though the second visor feature would make the helmet bulky and heavy, but I’m glad to say I was totally wrong—it’s like it’s not even there.
The straps are comfortable and have a soft protecting flap and instead of a looping “Double-D Ring” system there is a DOT approved quick release ratchet system. It’s super comfortable and fast, no need to take the gloves off to secure or remove your helmet.
Ventilation is also surprisingly good. At first I though the 3 vents in the front wouldn’t be enough compared to my Shoei, but after several rides it seems to be doing just fine.
Oh and one last feature that wasn’t immediately noticeable to me is that the helmet is headphone friendly / Bluetooth ready. The FT2 has a deep ear pocket which allows you to insert your Bluetooth intercom speakers or earphones. The only negative of this feature is that it does make the helmet louder – quite a bit louder than my Shoei, actually. However, I was able to improve it a bit by filling the extra space with some foam pads that were provided.
The Verdict: 7/10
Overall, I’ve gotta say I’m pretty impressed with the FT2. It may not fully stack up against my Shoei, BUT for a sub-$300 helmet, I think it’s a great option, especially if on a budget.
- Above average safety rating that doesn’t break the bank
- Great design and visibility
- Sunshades are really practical
- Inflatable cheek pads
- High quality removable liner
- Quick release chinstrap
- Wind noise – especially in left ear (maybe due to inner sunshade rocker switch?)
- Somewhat difficult and clunky visor lock system
- Some vent tabs feel a little flimsy and loose